Ben Affleck Nearly Had a Major Role in ‘Clueless’

When writer-director Amy Heckerling wrote Clueless, she created a fun, charming film. 25 years after its release on July 19, 1995, remains one of the most popular teen movies of all time — and it nearly starred Ben Affleck. It is rumored that the movie is loosely based on the Shakespeare play The Taming of the Shrew and Jane Austen’s Emma.

Ben Affleck smiling in front of a green background
Ben Affleck | Pablo Cuadra/Getty Images

The movie has built a strong and loyal fan base since its release, but the film has had its share of ups and downs, including some disagreements with casting. But first, let’s give some back story on the eyebrow-raising relationship between Josh and Cher.

Josh and Cher’s controversial relationship

Two of the main characters, Josh and Cher, played by Alicia Silverstone and Paul Rudd, are the centerpiece of the story. Josh offers a perspective that is in direct opposition to Cher most of the time. And at every turn, he calls her out on her about her behavior and self-centered tendencies. Ultimately, the fact that Josh takes her to task for her behavior is what makes the sparks fly and she falls in love with him. 

Some found the relationship objectionable, pointing out that Cher was underage, Josh was in college, and that the relationship could be deemed incestuous, as the two were step-siblings. Nevertheless, in the world of teen rom coms, this movie has been solidified as the quintessential ’90’s teen movie.

However, the role of Josh wasn’t always meant for Paul Rudd. Ben Affleck originally read for the part. Here’s why we didn’t see Affleck play Josh.

Why Ben Affleck was passed over for the role

The role of Josh proved to be a difficult choice. In the end, Paul Rudd, who was less experienced and less well known than Affleck, was chosen. However, Affleck had other projects he was working on. If he had taken the role of Josh we may have never seen him in Mall Rats or Glory Days

And although Paul Rudd clearly nailed the part of Josh, Cher’s stepbrother/love interest, casting director Carrie Frazier says she was actually “heartbroken” that the role didn’t go to Ben Affleck, according to ET. Frazier revealed:

“I brought in Ben Affleck for the role of Josh. I thought he would be fabulous for it … I was really trying to get Ben Affleck the part.”

Clueless enjoys continued success, 25 years later

Last year the movie celebrated its 25 year anniversary with a theatrical release in theatres. This is a testament to the movie’s long-standing fan base as well as its cross-generational appeal. From the fashion to the quotable quotes, the movie is a time capsule of a generation lost to the ages. 

As for the love story component, whether you think the relationship between Cher and Josh was questionable or not, there is no denying that, in the end, the outcome was so cute it gave us a toothache. When they finally get together in the end, we all breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Every chick flick needs a love story, and the story we got with Josh and Cher was not just a simple crush. The pair genuinely respected each other and that they both looked after each other in the sweetest ways.

It’s hard to imagine anyone but Paul Rudd in the part simply because of his boyish innocence and charm. While Ben Affleck is a fine actor and would have no doubt done an incredible job, it’s hard to imagine him as Josh. The right casting in a movie can really make or break the entire mood of the movie. Paul Rudd and Alicia Silverstone had great on-screen chemistry that has contributed to the movie’s longevity. 

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